Rumor: Pepsi Omitting “Under God” from Patriotic Cans

Today we look at the rumor that Pepsi has produced "Pledge of Allegiance" cans with the words "Under God" omitted.

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It’s a very old hoax, dating back to 2002, and Dr. Pepper was the original target, not Pepsi.

Let’s take a look at a 2002 incarnation of the protest:

I don’t often get on my soap box about stuff, but Dr Pepper has really riled me. I heard a story on the local news about a group of kids in Iowa being angry with Dr Pepper because they have chosen to print new cans that they call “patriotic” with the Pledge of Allegiance written on it. They chose to leave out the line of the pledge which says “under God”. They believe it makes it more appealing. I emailed the company to ask for a clarification of the story to see if it was a nationwide campaign or if it was a local strategy for Iowa. They responded with a form letter that did not answer my question, but it did confirm they have chosen to leave God out of the pledge. I am now choosing not to buy Dr Pepper. How sad?!?! It was the only soda I drank!!! Oh well…
So hope ya’ll all have a Coke and a smile today!

In 2013, we are seeing a graphic, which appears to be a photo of a computer screen. The target has now shifted the Pepsi, though the protest is essentially the same:

Subject: Don’t buy Pepsi in the new can!
Don’t buy Pepsi in the new can. Pepsi has a new “patriotic” can coming out with pictures of the Empire State Building, and the Pledge of Allegiance on them.
However, Pepsi left out two little words on the pledge, “Under God.”
Pepsi said they didn’t want to offend anyone. In that case, we don’t want to offend anyone at the Pepsi corporate office, either!
So if we don’t buy Pepsi products, they will not be offended when they don’t receive our money that has the words “In God We Trust” on it.
How fast can you forward this one?
Pretty darn fast! 

Pepsi
Pepsi has actually never produced such a can, but because the rumor refuses to die, they have gone to the unusual lengths of actually responding to the rumor:

You may have received an erroneous message about a “patriotic can” that Pepsi allegedly produced with an edited version of America’s Pledge of Allegiance. The truth is, Pepsi never produced such a can. In fact, this is a hoax that has been circulating on the Internet for more than nine years. A patriotic package used in 2001 by Dr Pepper (which is not a part of PepsiCo) was inappropriately linked to Pepsi. Thanks for giving us the chance to clarify the situation and please feel free to share this message with anyone else who may have received the erroneous email.

Dr Pepper patriotic cans from 2001 only had 3 words from the Pledge of Allegiance.

Dr. Pepper
Back in 2001, Dr. Pepper did in fact produce a patriotic package which included only three words from the Pledge of Allegiance: “One Nation… Indivisible.” It didn’t omit only “two little words” as the current rumor states, but 28 of the 31 words in the Pledge. After the initial 2002 outcry, Dr. Pepper also issued a statement on the issue:

The can, released last November, features an image of the Statue of Liberty along with the words “One Nation … Indivisible.”
The special packaging was designed to reflect our pride in this country’s determination to stand together as one.
The Statue of Liberty and Pledge of Allegiance were chosen as two of the greatest symbols of American freedom.

Due to space limitations on the can, only a few of the 31 words from the Pledge of Allegiance could be used. The available area for graphics limited the amount of verbiage on the can. Of the 31 words in the Pledge of Allegiance, only three were included. More than 90 percent were not included.

Here is a variation of the graphic being circulated in 2013.

We at Dr Pepper/Seven Up strongly believe that the message on these cans is a resoundingly patriotic, bipartisan message that we are a united nation.

More than 41 million special edition cans were ordered by Dr Pepper bottlers in portions of a dozen states. Because the limited edition patriotic can is to be retired in February, you will soon see regular packaging graphics for Dr Pepper at your local retail stores.

Sincerely,
Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc.

Despite attempts by writers and anti-hoax sites over the past 11 years to put the rumor to rest, this one refuses to die – passed around and proliferated from a knee-jerk reaction by those who don’t take a moment to simply verify the information they’re sharing.

Article revised on January 24, 2013

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